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Old 09-11-04, 03:44 AM   #1
rj987652003
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tools needed to build wheels

what tools are needed to build wheels? I know that a truing stand is essential, but what other tools are needed for the rims and hubs?
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Old 09-11-04, 05:23 AM   #2
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This link should give you all the information you need before you start.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

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Old 09-11-04, 05:35 AM   #3
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There's a very nice book by Jobst Brandt called the Bicycle Wheel. I'd say that is the first tool you should get. It provides not only step-by-step instructions to build a wheel, but it also provides you with an understanding of how the bicycle wheel works-- that understanding helps the step-by-step instructions make a lot of sense. It also covers the tools you may want to have in detail.

If you're really handy and want to do it on the cheap you could build a wheel with nothing more than a bicycle turned upside down (using the fork) and a spoke wrench. I like to make things a little easier for myself so I have the following tools: truing stand with an indicator to help keep the wheel centered properly (Performance brand); spoke wrench (Park); spoke tensionometer (Park); and dishing tool (Park). The tensionometer determines spoke tension by measuring the deflection of each spoke for a set stress (the Park tool comes precalibrated so that you can relate the deflection of a spoke of given material and diameter to the actual tension). The dishing tool will tell you absolutely if the wheel is centered with respect to the hub. I found that the indicator on my Performance truing stand got my wheel close enough to center that the dishing tool hasn't been absolutely necessary.

I found that when using a new rim and spokes and a tensionometer that the process is very easy: if you increase all the spoke tensions uniformly the rim remains round and true. I simply followed the instructions from Brandt's book and the first wheel I built came out perfectly, and it has remained true for quite a while now.

The whole process is very satisfying; I really doubt you'll regret the investment in tools.

Sincerely,

Henry
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Old 09-11-04, 10:16 AM   #4
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I use a Spin Doctor truing stand, the less expensive Park dishing tool, a spoke wrench, a screwdriver, and a dial caliper. The dial calper is for measuring hub dimensions on old hubs I'm rebuilding to new rims.

I don't use a tensionometer and have little difficulty without it. Just bring up the spoke tension a little at a time while checking trueness and it all works out.
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Old 09-11-04, 10:45 AM   #5
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Not that I would ever discourage anyone from buying new tools ;-), but the minimalist answer is a screwdriver, a spoke wrench, and Sheldon Brown's excellent instructions. A truing stand is very convenient but not essential. If you know you are going to do a lot of wheelbuilding in the future, then by all means get all the hardware, but if you just want to see if it's for you, it's really not that much harder to true wheels on the bike using brake pads as your reference points and fliping the wheel to check of dishing.
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Old 09-11-04, 01:05 PM   #6
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As others have mentioned above, the only indispensable tool is the spoke wrench. Everything else is a convenience, which you do not need if you are resourceful. I have even torqued spoke nipples with a small open-ended wrench of the correct size, but a spoke wrench is much faster and more comfortable.
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Old 09-11-04, 02:16 PM   #7
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Does building your own wheels really save you any money over a new set...just curious.

I see the main advantage of this skill is rebuilding old rims and hubs......in this case the professional labor cost to build the wheel might exceed the value of the parts.

Oh, I forgot...it will save me that $15 wheel truing fee.
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Old 09-11-04, 03:11 PM   #8
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Depends what kind of wheel you want. Like, the excellent example you gave of rebuilding old rims and hubs-- in that case it can save a lot of money. Or, if you want something slightly unusual. For example, I wanted a Surly fixed/free hub built with a 700c Mavic MA3 rim. Although not exactly obscure, this is uncommon enough that it was probaby a little cheaper for me because I built it myself. If you want something very common, like a pair Ultegra hubs with Mavic Open Pro rims, then it may even cost MORE to build it yourself. At least in my case, however, the honest answer to your question is that I probably haven't saved enough (yet) to justify the cost of the tools. Then again, I find the process very satisfying, and I feel proud of the job when I'm finished.

Like others have mentioned above, the spoke tensionometer is not absolutely necessary, but having a properly-tensioned wheel is indeed worthwhile. That is, it can be done by sound or even just feel, but if you like to have some reassurance the Park tensionometer works well, and in my opinion it is worh the cost. That said, perhaps if I learned to built wheels without it my feeling of satisfaction would be even greater... alternatively, I may spend a lot of time retruing improperly tensioned wheels

Sincerely,

Henry


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Originally Posted by rj987652003
Does building your own wheels really save you any money over a new set...just curious.

I see the main advantage of this skill is rebuilding old rims and hubs......in this case the professional labor cost to build the wheel might exceed the value of the parts.

Oh, I forgot...it will save me that $15 wheel truing fee.
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